Thought leadership

With its photo editing and sharing service, Instagram is one of the newest entrants to the pack of blockbuster social media services. The product is simple: take a picture, apply a digital filter to it, and share the picture.

Its success has been phenomenal, and Instagram currently has over 40 million active monthly users. But what has Instagram got to do with customer feedback?

When a filter is applied to a photo in Instagram, some parts of the picture are highlighted and other parts are left out of focus. In analysing customer feedback, the same principle of applying filters to focus on relevant information makes the feedback data and its analysis more useful and more manageable to people who are responsible for monitoring Voice of the Customer and making operational improvements based on this information.

The “instagramming” process of customer feedback consists of three steps: gather free-form text feedback, tag the feedback with topics, and apply topic filters (ontologies) based on job function. These filters become especially useful when there is a lot of feedback coming in from multiple sources and stakeholder needs are differentiated by organisation and job function. A universal view is simply not useful to users and stakeholders with individual needs and responsibilities. Enabling function-based filters lets users see topics that are relevant to their individual needs and, therefore, more beneficial.

Here are three examples of function-based filters that focus on a specific point of view: products, marketing, and customer service.

Focus on products

What are consumers saying about a company’s brands and products? How about the selection or availability? Quality or sustainability? The product view reveals customers’ thoughts on products. Topics used by a typical product ontology include selection, availability, quality, ecology and usability, among others. Brands, such as Apple, Nokia and Samsung, are used as topics as well, and the ontology is complemented by and continuously updated with specific product labels like iPhone, Lumia and Galaxy whenever a more detailed product monitoring is needed.

Focus on marketing

Was the ad campaign a success or a failure? Did something hit the fan? Do our customers like our web pages? It is difficult to measure the success of marketing efforts, but the marketing view monitors relevant discussions and provides tools for measurement. A marketing-specific ontology recognizes marketing related topics, such as ads, marketing, online marketing, and web pages.

Focus on customer service

How good is our customer service? Is it fast or slow? Is the service attitude what it should be? The customer service view focuses on topics that describe the state of customer service. The topics used in a typical customer service ontology include speed of service, service attitude, congestion and telephone service.

Function-based filters highlight useful and interesting aspects of customer feedback for each job function based on individual needs. Every operational division will benefit from a focused view of customer feedback: from product management, marketing and customer service to human resources and communications. Just like Instagram boosted the popularity of mobile photo sharing, function-based filters will make customer feedback analysis more popular within a company by making it more meaningful and useful for each individual user.


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